Commentary

And so NC is reduced to this: Gov. Cooper forced to beg for donations to help teachers

The conservative war on public structures and services in North Carolina is a longstanding tragedy for our state, but it is now also well on its way to becoming utter farce. For confirmation of this sad state of affairs, one need look no further than the unfortunate but “what else are you gonna’ do?” spectacle of our governor appearing in Durham earlier this week to beg for donations to help teachers pay for school supplies.

This is from a story in yesterday’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer entitled “Gov. Cooper back on campaign trail, this time for school supplies”:

Cooper is asking North Carolinians to buy and drop supplies off at State Employees Credit Union branches, state government offices and businesses.

“One thing we know is that far too often teachers are having to dip into their own pockets to cover the cost of classroom supplies, supplies that their students need to learn and supplies that the state currently is not providing to them,” Cooper said.

He said he hopes the campaign will be short lived.

“What we want is a school system that provides what teachers and students need and that we don’t have to hold these kinds of drives,” Cooper said.

Communities In Schools of North Carolina chapters and AmeriCorps volunteers will distribute the supplies to classrooms.

Cooper said citizens could also start supply drives at their workplace using a start-up kit available at http://bit.ly/2vCjvql

Of course, there is an obvious solution to this outrageous and embarrassing situation: State lawmakers could fund schools adequately.  As Cooper noted at a press conference during his appearance, his budget included a proposal to fund $150 stipends for teachers but cheapskate lawmakers refused to go along.

Cooper said he has spoken to state business leaders and urged them to go to the legislature and demand more support for education.

“Instead of cutting my corporate tax and instead of cutting taxes for the wealthy, I want you to take those resources and invest them in education and that means early childhood education, K-12, community colleges and universities,” Cooper said. “I want North Carolina to be a Top 10 education state by 2025.”

Cooper is exactly right. The legislature’s absurd trickledown budget policies and priorities are ridiculously out of whack and continue to do terrible and completely unnecessary damage to the state and its future. Let’s hope he remains a fixture on the “campaign trail” in the weeks and months ahead in the battle to pull our state back from the brink to which the Right has driven it.

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